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4 min read

Do I need therapy? Common Signs That Therapy May Be The Right Choice

a therapy room

Mental health is a common topic in today's media. Many of us understand the many benefits that talk therapy can offer, and that it may even be necessary for treating mental health conditions. However, we also aren't too sure of what mental health services really involve, or whether they actually apply to what we're going through.

"Should I see a therapist?" is a question we may be asking ourselves, with no clear answer. In this article, we'll discuss different scenarios in which a mental health professional can help, as well as offer some tips for finding the right therapist for you.

11 Signs It May Be a Good Time to Seek Therapy

Therapy can help almost anyone, not just those who are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. Here are some common signs that it may be time to talk to a mental health therapist.

Feeling incredibly overwhelmed.

In today's world, many of us are carrying a load of stress. Work, family, and other responsibilities of daily life can lead to feelings of burnout, emotional distress, or mental exhaustion. Therapy can help. Therapists can offer a variety of stress management techniques and healthy coping mechanisms to help manage stress and protect both physical health and mental health.

Irregular sleep habits.

Sleepless nights can lead to any number of mental health challenges. In recent years, researchers have discovered just how important it is to get a good night's sleep... and many of us are not getting that. Insufficient sleep can increase the risk for anxiety, depression, and other negative consequences. Mental health professionals are well-equipped with the skills to help you improve your sleep habits.

Avoiding social situations.

Social connections are essential to mental health and well-being. Yet with the prevalence of social withdrawal and the general shape of today's society, we often do not make these connections, or maintain relationships in a meaningful way. Therapy can help you learn to manage social anxiety, heal relationship issues through couples counseling, and offer emotional support to meet life challenges.

Your anxious thoughts consume you.

Anxiety is a common mental health condition that can lead to emotional distress, panic attacks, and even physical health concerns. Mental health treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy can help to shift negative emotions and learn to manage stress in a healthy and effective way.

Inability to control your emotions.

Whether it is part of a mental illness or simply a personality trait, some of us have difficulty regulating our emotions. This can lead to emotional distress, poor relationships, and even legal difficulties in extreme cases. Talk therapy can help you learn to manage emotions and make real connections with others.

You don't care about anything.

Anhedonia can be a sign of depression, a serious mental health condition that can negatively impact your life and relationships. If you find that you don't have any interest in daily life, or that you avoid doing activities you previously enjoyed, working with a mental health professional can be important. As a diagnosed mental health condition, depression can make it difficult to function in day-to-day life, but it is treatable.

You're having problems at work.

Workplace stress can be a real mental health challenge. Fraught interpersonal relationships, too much work, work that is too challenging, work that isn't challenging enough, long hours, cut hours... many things can lead to stress and low self-esteem.

Feelings of Hopelessness

Along with losing interest in life, feeling hopeless is another major symptom of clinical depression. A trained professional can help you manage symptoms, and regain interest in life.

Change in Eating Habits

A change in eating habits can indicate a mental health issue, including anxiety, depression, or eating disorders. Individual therapy, such as dialectical behavioral therapy, can help manage the mental health issues that may be causing these behaviors.

You've experienced a recent trauma.

When you've experienced a traumatic event, it can be tempting to think that you can handle it without help. However, many mental illnesses stem from traumatic events, and you may find yourself dealing with intrusive thoughts, negative thoughts, mood swings, emotional instability, and psychological disorders like PTSD. Interpersonal therapy can help manage mental health issues that stem from trauma and improve your emotional state.

You're ready for a big change or transition.

Major change can have a profound impact on your life, and on your emotions. Working with a licensed therapist may offer the mental and emotional resilience you need to get through these changes.

How do I know it's time to see a therapist?

Avoiding mental health help due to the stigma involved has serious public health implications. Mental illness is not a personal failing, nor are mental health issues a sign of weakness. If you are dealing with any type of negative emotion or negative thinking, want to work on changing unhealthy habits, or are simply interested in increasing self-awareness, see a therapist.

What If I've Already Tried Therapy and It Didn't Work?

Therapy can help to the extent that you participate. The problem is that sometimes you are matched with a mental health professional that you don't connect with. Fortunately, there are far more options today than there were in the past. Here are some ways to find the right therapist for you.

Decide what type of therapist you want to see.

You deserve to participate in talking therapy in a judgment-free space. Go to therapy with a licensed therapist who is experienced in treating mental health conditions that you are concerned about, and who specializes in working with your population. For example, if you are part of the queer community, you may want to look for a LGBTQ+ affirmative therapist.

Figure out what you want out of therapy.

Make a to-do list about why you want to see a therapist, and what you expect to accomplish in therapy. Is it about managing the symptoms of a mental health condition? Learning more about yourself? Improving relationships? Please note that if you find that your first choice is not someone you mesh with, you can change therapists. If you need therapy, your success can hinge on whether you are comfortable with your therapist.

Pick between online and in-person.

A systematic review of online therapy vs. in-person therapy found that online therapy can be just as effective for treating certain mental health conditions as face-to-face therapy. Which you choose will depend on personal preference, accessibility to the type of therapist you want, location, and other factors.

Seeking Support with Therapy

When you see a therapist, it doesn't have to be about mental illness. Therapists are trained to help guide you through any number of life challenges and can help you learn to make healthier decisions for yourself. In fact, by learning how to better manage stress and emotional health, you may avoid many mental health conditions that can develop by ignoring negative thoughts and emotions. If you begin to notice signs that it's time to get therapy, don't ignore them. Find a therapist in Austin you can trust and take your first step on the path to healing.

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